WHILE renovation of the Palace of Westminster is debated, I’m reminded that when it burnt down in 1834 King William IV offered Buckingham Palace to Parliament. The 658 MPs – there are 650 now – would have occupied the ballroom. The king was keen to offload it but his offer was declined. Perhaps the Queen, who prefers Windsor, could make the offer again. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, a staff lounge, a cinema, a bar and a very comfortable mess. It also has a barber’s room, a gym, a dental surgery, medical facilities, a post office, a swimming pool and a large garden. There are also secret tunnels to Whitehall and Westminster.
THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to attend Bafta’s 70th-anniversary awards ceremony on February 12 – he’s president – but there’s talk that Kate might not be welcomed by all of those present. Why so? ‘She might outshine the luvvies and the event itself,’ suggests a source. William hasn’t shown much enthusiasm for Bafta events. They might be better off with Harry. His consort, Meghan Markle, has become a famous luvvie.
BEAUTIFUL, Tory-inclined political commentator and broadcaster Isabel Hardman, 30, pictured, who has written movingly about suffering from depression, is romantically involved with Labour MP John Woodcock, 38, who parted from his wife, Mandy, in 2014. As it happens, he too suffered from this malady three years ago, writing in The Guardian: ‘I am depressed and have decided to get help.’ Later he announced the end of his ten-year marriage to wife Mandy. Confirming his relationship with Ms Hardman, Woodcock says: ‘Isabel would probably object to being described as Tory-inclined.’
PARALYSED, wheelchair-bound TV reporter Frank Gardner, 55, has been touring the wilds of Papua New Guinea, famous for its tribe of cannibals, for a two-part BBC film, Birds Of Paradise: The Ultimate Quest. Shot six times by an Al Qaeda sympathiser in Saudi Arabia 13 years ago, Gardner was accompanied by writer/explorer Benedict Allen, 56, who ate his dog in 1982 after getting lost in a Brazilian rainforest.
POLITICALLY correct broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, 58, moans in Saga magazine that waiters ignored her at a private members’ club, adding: ‘When I complained, they looked totally startled, as though I’d appeared out of thin air! I’m just tired of the invisibility of older women.’ A disgraceful way to treat the old trout, who founded the Women’s Equality Party.
DONALD Trump’s decision to proceed with the Dakota pipeline is controversial – pumping 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states, it’s opposed by environmentalists and native Americans. It is, however, approved by former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, 51, who tells Trump: ‘Drill, baby, drill.’
RE Trump, what will the PM wear to meet him tomorrow? Theresa May isn’t averse to flashing her long legs but would that be wise given The Donald’s fruity reputation? She has said she’ll tell him off if there’s any inappropriate talk. Perhaps she should wear the T-shirt given to her by the Fawcett Society, with the slogan: ‘This is what a feminist looks like.’